Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Ballad of Gideon Stargrave

In a city full of strangers,
or a town that’s drowned in dreams,
I’m the albatross, awaiting flight;
a soldier’s greatest scheme
before his life and pride are blown apart.
Locked on target for her heart:
His pen’s his only missile that he flies.
But he’s still stuck somewhere
between himself and I.

Oh, if I could be him
he wouldn’t have to be me.
There’s an albatross around my neck
and we both know what that means.

So he’s offering his blessing
to the boy out in the cold
because he’s given all that he can give.
He’s left with just a face,
and though the girls all swear he’s handsome,
it’s just not to his taste.
Without his arms, without a neck,
without his feet, without a heart,
he’s more than alive,
and that’s more than a start.

He gave me most of his mind.
He asked me to write,
to color his life
but a poet is lost
when his life is all right;
when the girls are in love;
when he sleeps through the night
without a sound.

Day 4

No one told me about the nightmares.  No one told me

about the sweats and the shakes and the shits

and the fucking nightmares.

Last night I binged

with my brother and had to explain to my mom why

he was passed out on the kitchen floor, apologize

for hooking him on this ride.  She screamed at me,

cried.  I think she slapped me, and my brother

tried to hold her back but couldn’t even stand.

I couldn’t tell her when or why we started drinking,

and that’s when I woke up.

                                 Bed sheets plastered with

that god-awful sweat, heart pounding in my throat,

I realized it was a dream.  It’s not fair, feeling

like shit all day, just to fall asleep and think

I’m awake, putting everyone through

an emotional garbage disposal.  Makes me wonder,

why bother keeping up the act?  I don’t give a shit

what the dream means.  I don’t want a sponsor.

I know how to stop the nightmares, but

this goddamn program won’t let me.

Ode To A Small Theater Box Office Manager

We’re really glad you came out tonight
Yes, I speak for everyone
You can purchase tickets here
No, not through the window
I don’t know how the slide-y drawer works.

No, we don’t take credit cards.
No, I don’t have change for that.
The bathroom?
It’s down the hall, on the left.

Tickets bought online? OK,
let me check the list.
What’s the name?
Hmm. It’s not here.
Oh, it’s under your login
Or a last initial
Or a nickname?
Of course it is.

Down the hall, on the left.

We have some concessions.
They’re on that shelf over there.
No charge, but it’s a suggested
donation. That means you’re
supposed to, you know,
actually make the donation.

Oh, if you don’t mind,
please don’t stand there,
you’re blocking the entrance.
Don’t stand there either,
that blocks the exit.
Hall. Left.
Yeah, and that’s the ticket
booth — I need to get back
in there. Don’t stand there

If you don’t mind.

I know it’s warm.
We turned the AC on.
It taks a while
to get going.
I’m sorry.

Once the house is open
And you’ve all sat down,
the actors hit the boards,
I can finally relax.
Unless the lighting guy
called out sick, or is
over at Comedy Sportz.
Then I’m running the board
with raw eyes, doing my best
to not think about having
to pick up all your discarded
programs and soda cans
from under those seats
when you’re done with the art.

With each unfollow I get on Twitter,
my heart dies a little. This is my
third go around here

and every time I say I’m just
going to follow publishing houses
and not get caught up

in the middleschoolness of it all,
but every time I find myself
on my couch, sputtering, wounded,

seeking reasons for my unpopularity
here when I am a frigging hit on Facebook,
and wondering yet again if this is just

not my bag, man. It’s never been my
bag. It’s not as if I don’t know my way
around this internet, this pissing match

for the incontinent, this strange place where
John Cusack can block you if you
correct his grammar, and where

Tila Tequila can claim that the Illuminati
gave her a brain aneurysm and

And while that’s so crazy it’s sort
of awesome, I feel as though Twitter
is the lone novelty holiday sock

in a drawer full of matched pairs
in my internet bureau. I don’t know
why the hell it’s in there.

My 5 Favorite Poems of All Time

Since this is the last full week of National Poetry (and since I’ve been crazy busy lately), I’ve decided to post my 5 Favorite Poems of All Time. Perhaps you’ll be able to discover some clue as to how I ended up writing a book called Broetry, or perhaps I will become even more of a mystery to you than I already am. ::insertspookynoiseshere:: Either way, I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

5: You Who Never Arrived—Rainer Maria Rilke

You who never arrived
in my arms, Beloved, who were lost
from the start,
I don’t even know what songs
would please you. I have given up trying
to recognize you in the surging wave of
the next moment. All the immense
images in me — the far-off, deeply-felt
landscape, cities, towers, and bridges, and
unsuspected turns in the path,
and those powerful lands that were once
pulsing with the life of the gods–
all rise within me to mean
you, who forever elude me.

You, Beloved, who are all
the gardens I have ever gazed at,
longing. An open window
in a country house– , and you almost
stepped out, pensive, to meet me.
Streets that I chanced upon,–
you had just walked down them and vanished.
And sometimes, in a shop, the mirrors
were still dizzy with your presence and,
startled, gave back my too-sudden image.
Who knows? Perhaps the same
bird echoed through both of us
yesterday, separate, in the evening…
4: Sonnet XCI—William Shakespeare

Some glory in their birth, some in their skill,
Some in their wealth, some in their bodies’ force,
Some in their garments, though new-fangled ill,
Some in their hawks and hounds, some in their horse;
And every humour hath his adjunct pleasure,
Wherein it finds a joy above the rest:
But these particulars are not my measure;
All these I better in one general best.
Thy love is better than high birth to me,
Richer than wealth, prouder than garments’ cost,
Of more delight than hawks or horses be;
And having thee, of all men’s pride I boast:

Wretched in this alone, that thou mayst take

All this away and me most wretched make.

3: In Michael Robins’s Class Minus One—Bob Hicok

At the desk where the boy sat, he sees the Chicago River.
It raises its hand.
It asks if metaphor should burn.
He says fire is the basis for all forms of the mouth.
He asks, why did you fill the boy with your going?
I didn’t know a boy had been added to me, the river says.
Would you have given him back if you knew?
I think so, the river says, I have so many boys in me,

I’m worn out stroking eyes looking up at the day.

Have you written a poem for us? he asks the river,

and the river reads its poem,

and the other students tell the river

it sounds like a poem the boy would have written,

that they smell the boy’s cigarettes

in the poem, they feel his teeth

biting the page.

And the river asks, did this boy dream of horses?

because I suddenly dream of horses, I suddenly dream.

They’re in a circle and the river says, I’ve never understood

round things, why would leaving come back

to itself?

And a girl makes a kiss with her mouth and leans it

against the river, and the kiss flows away

but the river wants it back, the river makes sounds

to go after the kiss.

And they all make sounds for the river to carry to the boy.
And the river promises to never surrender the boy’s shape

to the ocean.

2: Sonnet LXXV—Edmund Spenser

One day I wrote her name vpon the strand,

but came the waues and washed it away:

agayne I wrote it with a second hand,

but came the tyde, and made my paynes his pray.

Vayne man, sayd she, that doest in vaine assay,

a mortall thing so to immortalize,

for I my selue shall lyke to this decay,

and eek my name bee wyped out lykewize.

Not so, (quod I) let baser things devize,

to dy in dust, but you shall liue by fame:

my verse your vertues rare shall eternize,

and in the heuens wryte your glorious name.

Where whenas death shall all the world subdew,

our loue shall liue, and later life renew.

1: Blank Joy—Rainer Maria Rilke

She who did not come, wasn’t she determined
nonetheless to organize and decorate my heart?
If we had to exist to become the one we love,
what would the heart have to create?

Lovely joy left blank, perhaps you are
the center of all my labors and my loves.
If I’ve wept for you so much, it’s because
I preferred you among so many outlined joys.

Movie Pitch Poetry: Clowning Around

In this big budget action flick,
Jason Statham stars as
Pagliacci, a curmudgeonly
clown whose circus is
being secretly bankrolled
by the Yakuza. But after
several missed payments,
the ringmaster is in danger of
losing the circus as well as his life.

Well, Pagliacci the Curmudgeonly
Clown ain’t standing for that shit.
He ain’t standin’ for none of that.
This circus is his home, you know?
So when the Yakuza sends their
best soldiers to claim the money
by force, Pagliacci gathers up
the troupes and fights back.

You think he’s got a big nose?
Wait ’til you see his bazooka.
(we’ll come up with a cool
line for that in the trailer)

Oh, and of course, there is an
illicit romance between
Pagliacci and the bearded
woman; she is cold, distant,
ashamed of being a freak,
and does not think that
any man can truly love her.
But Pagliacci does.

(The bearded woman is
played by Megan Fox)

But wait! Oh no! The
circus troupe militia
is betrayed by one of
their own! The lion
tamer has been in league
with the Yakuza all along,
feeding them information
about this rebellion! And
now he’s taken Bearded
Megan Fox hostage! Jason
Statham the Clown falls
for his trap when he goes
to rescue her in the center
ring, and after a brief
skirmish, he knocks the
lion tamer back, and he
gets eaten by his own lion,
in a bloody, satisfying twist
of irony. But that’s not all!

The Yakuza leader played by
Ken Jeong (who is of course
also a classically trained
trapeze artist) arrives at
the Big Top to take matters
into his own hands. In the final
showdown, Clown Jason
Statham loads himself into
the cannon. He looks straight
into the camera and says,
“The show must go on,
mother fucker,” or something
equally quotable and
nihilistic before launching
himself into the air in a spiral
with two pistols blazing and it
will be totally sweet. Trust me.

Then, in the final confrontation,
Pagliacci faces down with the
Yakuza leader in a swordfight
on the tightrope, high above
the ground. He draws his own
sword from out of the mouth
of the sword swallower, who
will be like a human sheath,
because that’d be awesome.

And then maybe Pagliacci will
actually end up dying at the hands
of the Yakuza leader, but he decides
that it’s all too much work, and he
turns ownership of the circus back
over to the performers, who will
re-name the circus at the end of
the film in honor of Jason Statham.

I mean Pagliacci. Whatever. We’ll
figure that part out in post.

Day 3

I called my uncle, said, I can’t today.  I’m sick,
I’m in no shape to leave my bed, much less
sit in a circle of shitty metal chairs
filled with people whining for just an ounce
of pity.  He said okay, he’d give me a ride
to the detox in twenty, reminded me
the deal was 90 days of this bullshit
or rehab.

I met him outside.

Sweating and shivering and
dry heaving, I met him.  He asked
if I got it now, if I understood
what they were talking about.
I told him to fuck off and drive.

It’s the worst flu I’ve ever had, aching
in every pore, freezing in a fevered sweat,
seasick on the sidewalk.  No Nyquil
could give me the relief that one
harmless shot would grant.  Instead,
I’m worse than sober.  I’m listening
to a twelve-step program that people keep
slipping down, or climbing up to find
they have no higher power, only
a higher number on a new chip
that they can’t cash at a casino.
Someone says, One day at a time.
Don’t dwell on the past or worry
about tomorrow.  There’s only
today.  Well, today I feel like shit.
What else is there?